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Song Of The Week - Happiness is a Warm Gun

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nimrod:
She's not a girl who
misses much
Do-do-do-do-do, oh yeah

She's well acquainted
With the touch of a velvet hand
Like a lizard on a window pane

Man in the crowd
With the multicoloured mirrors
On his hobnail boots

Lying with his eyes
While his hands are busy
Working overtime

The soap impression of his wife
Which he ate and donated
to the National Trust

I need a fix cause I'm going down
Down to the bits that I've left up town
I need a fix cause I'm going down

Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
Mother Superior jumped the gun
(BIS)

Happiness is a warm gun
( bang bang shoot shoot )
Happiness is a warm gun, yes it is
(bang bang shoot shoot)

When I hold you in my arms (oh yes)
When I feel my finger on your trigger (oh yes)
I know nobody can do me no harm
Because
happiness is a warm gun, momma
Happiness is a warm gun
-Yes it is.
Happiness is a warm, yes it is...
Gun!
Well don't ya know that happiness is a warm gun, momma? (yeah)



The Beatles - Happiness Is A Warm Gun

I love this song, Johns voice sounds soooooo cool in the opening bars and it goes on to show what a great rock singer he was, Paul & George do excellent work on here as does Ringo, the backing vocals and harmonies are spot on and what an incredible and inventive song for any writer to come up with, absolutely astounding IMO.....This is The Beatles at theyre most creative and best.
The title came from an article in a gun magazine John Lennon saw. "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" was the slogan of the National Rifle Association. It struck Lennon as "fantastic, insane… a warm gun means you've just shot something."
The song begins in standard 4/4 time but quickly deviates from the norm. There is a 5-bar phrase rather than the usual 4, beginning with the line "She's well acquainted...". The last line of that verse ("A soap impression of his wife...") has a 6/4 bar (the second measure of the phrase) before going back to 4/4 for the last two bars of the phrase, and Ringo Starr plays the downbeat on "1" in the fourth bar, giving a more unusual feel. The subsequent guitar lead and bridge can be analysed as a 3-bar pattern of 9/8, 12/8, 12/8, with Ringo retaining an implied 6/8 throughout, so that the snare drum downbeats are on "1" as often as not. This gives way to a faster 4-bar pattern of 6/8, 6/4, 6/8, 7/4 for the "Mother Superior..." section before returning to a slower 4/4 for the doo-wop ending.
During the "When I hold you..." section, the rest of the band returns to 6/8, but Ringo stays in 4/4. (GET IT ??)
This is a rare example of polyrhythm in The Beatles' catalogue.

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is reportedly Paul McCartney's and George Harrison's favourite song on the White Album. I think George did a good job on the guitar solo pre-empting the 'I Need A Fix.." section with a similar flat moody melody.

Although tensions were high among the band during the album's recording sessions, they reportedly collaborated as a close unit to work out the song's challenging rhythmic and meter issues, and consequently considered it one of the few true "Beatles" songs on the album.

The song was not met warmly by American and British censors. It was banned by the BBC because of its sexual symbolism !!

Personnel

John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, backing vocals, guitar
Paul McCartney – bass guitar, backing vocals
George Harrison – fuzzed lead guitar, backing vocals
Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine



Hello Goodbye:
Here's John's demo...


Happiness Is A Warm Gun (John's Demo) (The video's owner prevents external embedding)


I was disturbed by this song when I first listened to The White Album in 1968.  I immediately recognized heroin use references and what I thought were sexual references that I was a bit too young to fully understand.  I wasn't comfortable listening to the song then but today I regard it as an inventive musical piece created by John and I understand its meaning in retrospect now that John's personal history at that time is more fully known.

Dcazz:
I think it's mostly a transition song as John had just left Cynthia and had taken up with Yoko. The "soap impression of his wife" lyrics are definatly his impressions of Cynthia. "donating his impression of her to the national trust" is a reference to a bowel movement, the National Trust being the toilet/sewer.
Is the man in the crowd Magic Alex whom Cynthia is said to have had an affair with after she came home and found Yoko in her house? I don't know.
The second half with Mother Superior seems to switch over to Yoko.
Add to that The magazine John was reading with the smoking gun and you have the perfect cryptic vehicle for a personal song from John.
One of my favorites!

Klang:

 I always took the song's title to be a parodic reference to the Charles Schultz book 'Happiness Is A Warm Puppy' which was a huge seller in the 60s.

Great music, but after 'I Am The Walrus' I grew weary of the nonsense lyrics. 'IATW' covered that brilliantly, but I developed a nagging suspicion that John couldn't always be bothered with writing lyrics with literal meaning, passing this stuff off as lyrical poetry. I'm probably wrong, but that's what my gut tells me.

The words create vivid imagery, and maybe that was the intention. Still, for me, this made what could have been a great song into a moderately good one.

 :)

nimrod:

--- Quote from: Klang on April 15, 2013, 03:25:35 PM --- I always took the song's title to be a parodic reference to the Charles Schultz book 'Happiness Is A Warm Puppy' which was a huge seller in the 60s.

Great music, but after 'I Am The Walrus' I grew weary of the nonsense lyrics. 'IATW' covered that brilliantly, but I developed a nagging suspicion that John couldn't always be bothered with writing lyrics with literal meaning, passing this stuff off as lyrical poetry. I'm probably wrong, but that's what my gut tells me.

The words create vivid imagery, and maybe that was the intention. Still, for me, this made what could have been a great song into a moderately good one.


 :)


--- End quote ---

but surely Klang, him & Paul had written hundreds of songs with literal meaning, it was the time of a new conciousness (and mind bending drugs), him & Paul were still writing love songs (Julia & I Will) but your right about them wanting to create vivid imagery as well with songs like Helter Skelter & Cry Baby Cry, for me lyrically they were being incredibly inventive at this time.

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